Colonel Richard Kemp Romance Scams

 

I once had a romance scam – pulled on me. But I didn’t fall for it. And I wrote about these – on this blog:

Well, recently I started corresponding with a female friend – on Facebook. I’ll change the name and location, to protect her identity. Let’s call her Mary Kate Danaher from Ireland. And you might have guessed it. This is really a fiticious woman, in the John Wayne movie – The Quiet Man.

Anyway, Mary fell for this man, on a popular, social media platform. And It was a fake Colonel Richard Kemp. His real website is Richard Kemp.  And in case you think it’s the first time, type in the keywords “Colonel richard Kemp scam”. And you find some forums, talking about this particular romance scam. Anyway, this scammer asked for money – for a sick child. And money for someone kidnapped by ISIS. And Mary fell, for a fake person.

What is the difference between Mary and me? I was a peace corps volunteer, in Liberia, West Africa. And I lived among all kinds of rascals. And they tried to scam me – all the time. So I learned a lot. That’s not to say I can’t get scammed. It’s just much harder to do.

What should Mary have done? Well, the main thing is insist on a video chat first, via some media like Skype, WhatsApp or Google Hangouts. A fake Richard Kemp can’t really look, like the real McCoy. Unless they have good costume artists and voice technology. And I doubt that they, will go through all the trouble.

Here’s one example Mary wrote me about:

 Please try to bring out the money part and the promise to repay it I have with me the letter signed by the guy and the fake receipt of the Ghana hospital where 36000 dollars were spent on the child.

What would I have done? Call the Ghana hospital myself.  See if this person was even a patient there.  A receipt is easy to forge.

There were other scammers – posing under the famous assumed name. Actually, Mary encountered 3 or 4  – each claiming to be, the “real” Colonel Richard Kemp.  And this is very important.  Each is asking for money, for some story you might read, in a comic book.  And they are probably still out there – scamming people.

The red flag is when someone you don’t know – requests money.  Unless you know the person personally…and have met them and interacted with them over time…don’t do it.

It’s like a discussion I got into – via a forum. Part of which centers around fake news.

Fake news is like scams. Suppose i get a call, from the IRS. They say I owe some back taxes. They will take me away in handcuffs, if I don’t pay via debit card.

Well, I never heard of this. And the IRS normally sends several letters – by mail first.

Now I can’t find this IRS procedure, on either social media or a Google search. So it’s fake news. And costly too – if I send the phony IRS agent some money.

Now I read a supermarket tabloid story. It says Trump took a ride – in a UFO. Well, I don’t buy into it. But if ALL supermarket tabloids, were running variations of the same story. Guess what? I might say, it’s in the realm of possibility.

Same goes for a story, in the New York times, CNN, etc. If one station or newspaper runs it – it’s probably fake news. But if everybody runs it (including the international news sources – like the BBC). Guess what? It’s within the realm of possibility.

What I look at – is this. The number of news sources (both nationally and internationally), are reporting variations of the same story. Meaning they are approaching, a bell shaped curve. Which means that both liberal and conservative news bodies, should be fact checking it.

It’s now a part of my framework. Or my existential, phenomenological perspective.

If later some fact or aspect, renders the story incoherent – guess what? I alter my framework or my existential, phenomenological perspective – ever so slightly.

And for learning what goes on, via the Dark Web.  I follow Dark Web News.

Let’s end on a lighter note.  With  a recent sharing, from the Sunil Bali blog.

$95 million dollars has been found in a flat in Nigeria.

The poor guy spent the last 10 years trying to share it, but no one responded to his emails.

The Science of Graphics

The Science of Graphics//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Infographic was created by Bigstock Photo

Semi – final post

This is my semi-final post. What does this mean? I am taking some time off for some long needed, rest and relaxation. But I will still be active on all my normal, social media channels. And I will still be devoting time each day to studying the following languages:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • German

If I have something interesting to say, I will write a blog post. Then I will promote it that week, through the usual, social media channels. And if a guest blogger wishes to share an article, I will promote it for them – via the usually, social media channels.

But I do need a rest from regular blog posts. And there is a rich history of historical blog posts to view.

This does not mean retirement. Nor does it mean a devastating illness. All it means is that I am taking time off from writing blog posts.

Any words of advice? Sure. Watch out for fake social media profiles. They are pretty easy to spot. Most of the time, they only put a minimum of information in them. Take LinkedIn, for instance. Do they have a list of active skills? Have they had these skills endorsed by a few people? Do they have any recommendations present?

Most of the time, they are trying to get something quick. Like they are a tax agent and need you to pay by debit card. Where is the formal IRS letter? Will they give you sufficient time to consult with your tax attorney and/or accountant?

Or they have a romance scam. And they use a picture you can track down with a Google image search.

Or they get emotionally attached to you very quickly – like in a week’s time. And they will try to conger a story about needing money. Like they volunteer for Unicef and need money to pay the doctor. But Unicef provides excellent, free medical coverage for volunteers and are not even situated, where they party want’s money sent to. Go figure!

Or they have several million and want your help getting it out of the country. As if you can’t find someone to hire in your own country?

I’m going back to using more direct response methods in products I sell. I’m a big fan of this style of copywriting and wish to use it more – for my own ends. I miss the good, old days of studying ads by folks like Clayton Makepeace, Ben Heart, Dan Kennedy and Bob Bly. It’s kind of fun and you can use these methods, in your own web copy and promotional landing pages.

I’ll stop back in – from time to time. And I might have guest bloggers stop by – from time to time. But this is a offical period of blog post resting.

Reward Online Customers with Offline Services

E-commerce customers deserve rewards no less than customers who visit retail shops. Whether it’s earning points for each purchase or a notch punched into a loyalty card, smart merchants understand online customers expect pretty much the same as in-store shoppers: competitive pricing, customer service when they need it, and not overwhelming them with frequent communication.

Online payment

As Mark Macdonald wrote on Shopify’s blog, shoppers everywhere — online and those who stand in line to pay — respond to a merchant’s personality much more so than they do to a brand. It stands to reason that repeat customers should get similar awards regardless of where, when and how they shop and not what they buy.

E-commerce Should Adopt the Local Touch

While e-commerce businesses have national or international customers, they would do well to adopt a personal touch, which Yodle recently found helps smaller businesses win more customers than national chains, even when their prices are higher. In fact, the survey found local businesses outperform chains in personalizing services and treating customers fairly by a factor of more than 9:1. It isn’t that customers yearn for face-to-face service, either. In fact, their number-one wish about their favorite stores is for an improved online presence.

This provides a lot of food for thought for companies that sell online exclusively or to supplement brick-and-mortar stores. An independent online site can adopt the same personalized tactics local businesses depend on to compete with big-box stores.

Consumers Like Online Rewards Best

According to another recent study — this one from Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School — Loyalty programs pay off best when used online. Why? Because most consumers do their initial product research online. They “scour the Internet” for the best deal, with little regard to a loyalty concept, but an appreciation for offers that give them a reason to return to an e-commerce site.

Here are a few incentives that can encourage online shoppers to remain on a site, order from it and return:

  • Free shipping. Unexpected shipping costs lead to an abandonment rate approaching 30 percent, says Kissmetrics. One solution is to offer a low-cost membership that provides free shipping year-round, particularly for perishable gift items like chocolates or flowers that happen to be go-to gifts for just about any occasion: birthdays, housewarmings, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, sympathy gestures.
  • Inexpensive upgrades. For $5 or $10 more, offer a minor upgrade or add-on product such as a business card case.
  • Coupon code for the next purchase. To get the most out of this offer, make sure the code appears in the shopping cart when the customer connects via an email. Kissmetrics notes that a small number of shoppers will abandon a cart when they can’t find a discount code.
  • Provide upfront cash rewards. Pymt.com reports 60 percent of consumers prefer a rewards program connected to a credit card rather than business-specific programs customers are expected to track themselves.

Online Shoppers & DIY Customer Service

Shopify’s Macdonald notes that online customers are fine with the DIY approach to customer service so long as the information is accurate. FAQs are helpful tools for this; smart companies ask customers for feedback and update them as needed. Customers also share FAQs on online boards and chats, including social media outlets.

In addition, more customers turn to Twitter and Facebook for customer service, making these tools important ones to check on at least daily.

How to Create Compelling Case Studies

Seeking to boost the credibility of your offerings in an effort to grow your business? A case study may be worth exploring since it can show consumers that your claims about your products or services are valid.

Case Study

Here are a few tips for getting started:

See How Others are Using Case Studies

Seal manufacturer Apple Rubber offers a collection of case studies on their website for visitors to access. These reports share industry insight, educate consumers on their products and ethical business practices, and dive deep into the technology behind their product.

Delete, a digital strategy agency uses case studies to provide an overview of client work, and attract new customers by allowing them to see how the agency might help refine their brand through a carefully-crafted strategy.

Find the Ideal Candidates

Carefully analyze the pool of candidates to identify those who are most qualified to be featured in your case study. Ensure the clients who you choose to highlight are extremely knowledgeable of the product or service, have experienced exceptional results, or have decided to make the switch from a competitor because you had more to offer, HubSpot suggests. Also, look for those companies who are key players in their industry or who don’t fit the mold of a traditional customer—the latter conveys your versatility as an entity.

Pre-Interview Documents

Once you’ve selected your primary participants for the case study, it’s time to schedule an interview. But first, you’ll need to handle the small technicalities, which include obtaining their consent via a written release form and drafting up questions for them to answer beforehand to help both parties prepare for the live interview.

The Interview

Now that all the administrative tasks are taken care of, it’s time to get down to business. Before you dive in head first, kindly remind the interviewee you’ll be asking a sequence of interview questions that correspond with the questionnaire.

Areas to address include:

  • Overall business structure, mission, and any other relevant company information readers should know
  • Problems experienced before the implementation of your product or service
  • Why your product or service was chosen; focus on the benefits of what you were selling before listing out the features
  • How the product or service was implemented; be specific when describing how they benefited from your product or service’s unique features
  • Results achieved
  • Why the interviewee would recommend your company to others

Put It All Together

Edit the responses for fluidity and grammar without altering the actual content. Also, add a captivating headline and briefly introduce the reader to your client. Discuss how you were able to assist, followed by a synopsis of the live interview responses.

A Few Additional Tips

Don’t just stop with the text. Use visuals, such as images, graphs, and videos to support your assertions and further engage readers. You also want to remain objective, which can be done by letting the customer’s voice shine through direct quotes.

Customers want proof of your company’s promises, and what better way to do so than by harnessing the power of a well-written case study? With these helpful tips, you’ll be on your way to publishing an effective case study in no time.

The strange workings of certain LinkedIn groups

It all started when I joined a popular linkedIn writers group and shared this link, in the discussions section:

102 Resources to Transform Your Writing. Now it contained a graphic of a fully clothed woman dancing, along with this description:

“Do you want to transform your writing? These 201 resources will help you go from amateur writer to Seductive Wordsmith.”

Innocent enough, right? Well, they had a volunteer, who placed this in the promotions category. They didn’t like the words “seductive wordsmith.” They didn’t say anything about the woman dancing. But if the person was a copywriter…or supervised copywriters…they would give them a raise and/or a promotion. Imagine the same person reviewing Ulysses by James Joyce. It would never get off the ground

What is a copywriter? There are many definitions. Let’s even go with one for promote, from Dictionary dot com.

“Copywriting is the use of words to promote a person, business, opinion, or idea. copywriting is getting across the perfect message, with the perfect words.”

In our example, they are promoting an opinion or idea – not a person or business.

There are three tabs LinkedIn has: Promotions, Discussions and Jobs. And here’s how LinkedIn defines the tabs:

“A Jobs tab gives group members a place to share jobs and jobs discussions. Jobs discussions are automatically removed after 14 days. You can always post a job on LinkedIn if you want to reach a wider audience or need a job posted longer.”

“A Promotions tab gives group members a place to post their product promotions. Promotions don’t expire, but they can be deleted by the poster or by a group owner/manager.”

Here were my questions in the “promotion”, which they did not answer.

  • Why is this post placed in the promotion category, when according to the rules set by the owner and LinkedIn, it doesn’t fit the definition of promotion (NOR his definition of SPAM, I might add)?
  • If this is a promotion, why could I share this in other LinkedIn writing groups and it’s classified as a discussion?
  • If this is a promotion, then how can Write to Done gain 2.5 million yearly readers, just by writing promotions?

I wrote to the owner and ask him for help. Here was his reply:

“I will send it to the editors for review.”

Why send it to the editors?  Can’t you make decisions on your own?

Then I opened up this topic there for discussion:

“When should I place something in discussions and when should I place it in promotions?”

And the same person who had the original placed in promotions, said this:

“I believe in the rules XXX has referred to ‘community moderation’ and ‘democratic’ processes.”

Promotions isn’t only about things with prices, but anything that is a presentation in the OP or asks me to follow a link to read something somewhere else to be able to join the conversation. It’s pretty simple

The problem is that I have monitored subsequent posts that exactly had links just like mine.  Here’s an example: Is Nature Writing Old Hat?

Let me settle this question from LinkedIn’s own words. In it, they say this:

Enter details in the “Add more details” box or add a link to a website by typing in the URL and pressing the space bar on your keyboard.

So if I were “following the letter of the law”, I could first ask: “What are some resources that writers can use?”

Then in details, I could say: Here are some examples in 102 Resources to Transform Your Writing.

Now the only thing that needs settling is: What are “objectionable” words in the description?

Isn’t their answer a process of  GroupThink?

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

Let’s take that logic there and ask some questions:

  • If you have a few thousand members, how do you measure what members want, unless you have conducted surveys and statistical polling?
  • Why is this group not adopting the definitions LinkedIn has established for groups?
  • If you have different rules, why aren’t they all written down in the group rules section?
  • Why isn’t the owner actively involved with the group?  Could it be they are more interested in business gains from the group?

Let’s explore how a big inbound marketing Hubspot runs LinkedIn groups.  Look at How HubSpot Moderates LinkedIn Groups.  Let’s look at their four categories:

  • “Relevant questions for advice/discussions.”
  • “An interesting article with an accompanying question about the article’s content.”
  • “Important industry news.”
  • “Really darn catchy, unusual, content.”

I’m just like the little child in The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen, stating the obvious. There are times the owner needs to step in. Like when a new minority trend in copywriting occurred, when they used real smear words – and posted a link. Well, I have to worry about general sensitivities. And I asked them to follow the comic book guidelines for replacing swearwords with certain characters. But I have stepped in.

Other groups are probably more into resources to help them improve their writing, etc, then they are here. I really don’t believe in sharing knowledge and resources to help others, where it’s not wanted. I should be able to just read the group rules section, along with the LinkedIn guidelines, to know what is expected.

The question was raised there if I get paid to promote Write To Done. I answered as follows:

  • I do not get paid to post the resources links. And I don’t think any of the resources they list, is a paid product. I have a personal and professional standard of theological and philosophical ethics. And that would prevent me from posting links that are affiliate links and disguising them as legitimate posts.
  • It would also be easy for a professional software engineer – trained in these matters – to easily break down and decipher an affiliate link (i.e. LinkedIn technical support, for example). Or even LinkedIn software.
  • The other thing is I use a URL shortener. The one I usually run with is owned by Twitter. Any popular URL shortener would have build in filtering, to weed out things like SPAM, affiliate links, etc.
  • Lastly, Google and Bing would only allow blogs to rank high, if they provide authoritative and popular content. Hence, Write To Done can claim a readership of 2.5 million views, based upon good and authoritative content. Certainly, that many people wouldn’t visit them to view promotions or infomercials.

What has given me perspective here is that I’m in a different culture. Yes, a LinkedIn group could be a different culture. Like those in the books of writer Carlos Castaneda, who also earned a PhD in anthropology for his work. Things could be stranger. Like we could have a group owner like Sheldon Cooper, from the Big Bang theory. And a group manager like Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld. If I visualize these extreme examples, things start to make sense by comparison. Perhaps I am joining Alice on holiday in Wonderland. Or traveling with Dr. Who, in exploring an alternative LinkedIn universe. Then I can echo the usual words of Spock from Star Trek: “fascinating”.

Fake Social Media Profiles and Doing Your Homework

In the past, I have written about a romance scam, someone from Nigeria tried to pull on me. The details can be found in the following blog posts:

Take the money and run

Romance scams revisited

Then a copywriter – whose email list I subscribe to – sent me an interesting story. It’s entitled Meet “Ojuola Infotech” – the despicable man who stole my book by Chris Marlow. Apparently, some person from Nigeria stole one of her ebooks, put his name to it and tried to market it on Amazon and other sources.

Here’s where the story gets interesting. When Chris did a search on Ojuola Infotech, she came up with two identical profiles – but different photos. One was a Nigerian black man and the other was a white USA guy. It reminds me of my romance scam – which, by the way, I did not fall for. If I went to this person’s Facebook page, I saw two photos

  • One was the pretty woman who tried to start a long distance romance with me. But a Google image search of her picture found it was identical to a popular porn star.
  • The other was a black lady, dressed in a nurse’s uniform. My guess this was not a friend of hers, but the “really” photo and persona.

One mistake Chris made was not to copyright her ebook. This would be something easy to do, in the US. You can ask your local public library for help and it’s submitting an application to the US Copyright office. She did this after the fact. But it was through another company called The Trademark Company. She was then able to prove she was the author and remove it from different book dealers like Amazon Kindle.

You need to be careful about everything. For instance. I follow a blog by Douglas Ernst, mainly for his stories on superheros, Marvel and DC comics, etc. But he did a story entitled ‘Money: Master the Game’: Tony Robbins gives readers a sound blueprint for financial freedom by Tony Robbins. After reading his blog post, I checked out the book through my local public library. They have gotten the book via the inter-library load system.

I started reading the book, which is very well written and entertaining. But then I decided to Google ”Money Master the game summary”. One can find a couple interesting articles:

Both give some interesting insights and perspectives into the book.

My recommendation? Read the book but do look at the analysis and rebuttals of others.

And speaking of romance scams and fake profiles. Someone tried to pull the same trick this week. They presented they were a pretty woman from France. But a quick search of the image found it belonged to a popular porn star. And they didn’t bother to put together a profile one can find on multiple social media outlets. It’s an obvious fake.